Hidalgo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge has recently encountered multiple interceptions of a pain relief cream containing peyote which is a prohibited substance according to federal law.

“It is important that our travelers are aware of what they can bring into the United States from other countries to avoid potential delays,” said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr., Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.

Some cross border travelers to Mexico seek out a product called peyote gel, which in many cases also contains marijuana, as a remedy for muscle, bone and joint pain. Both peyote and marijuana are Schedule I controlled substances prohibited by federal law.

CBP has been entrusted with enforcing hundreds of laws for more than 40 other government agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CBP is required to examine and hold merchandise on behalf of other government agencies that have the regulatory authority to determine the admissibility of these products. CBP officers enforce all applicable U.S. laws, including against illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling and illegal importation. The products CBP prevent from entering the United States are those that would injure community health, public safety, American workers, children, or domestic plant and animal life, or those that would defeat our national interests. Sometimes the products that cause injury, or have the potential to do so, may seem fairly innocent.

Before leaving for a trip abroad, CBP recommends consulting the Know Before You Go guide to learn which items are prohibited, restricted and which items are permissible. A traveler may also speak to a CBP officer or supervisor at a port of entry about the items they plan to bring back to be sure they're not prohibited or restricted. Prohibited means the item is forbidden by law to enter the United States. Examples of prohibited items are dangerous toys that have lead paint or present a choking hazard, bush meat, or controlled prescription medication like Rohypnol. Restricted means that special licenses or permits are required from a federal agency before the item is allowed to enter the United States.